Divorcing After Decades: The Complexities of Ending a Long-Term Marriage
The longer a marriage lasts, the greater potential there is for a complex divorce. Over time, personal lives and finances become increasingly intertwined. Consequently, breaking things apart in an equitable manner can be much harder if you’re splitting after a few decades rather than a few years. Even in situations where children are grown, disputes over alimony and property division could lengthen the marriage dissolution process at a time when you’re trying to move ahead and start enjoying life again.
There are many reasons why some spouses go their separate ways after 20 years or more of marriage. Some opt for a “gray divorce” because they want to enjoy new adventures while they’re still young and energetic enough to do so. In other cases, a couple might have stuck with an unhappy relationship until their children grew into adulthood. As time passes, needs and goals do as well, and there are many long-term spouses who find that their hopes for the future no longer align.
Should you choose to divorce after a long time together, there are some special considerations that you should keep in mind, such as:
- Spousal support — Each spouse takes on certain roles and responsibilities over time. Many times, one spouse will stay home and take care of the children while the other earns most or all of the family’s income. Returning to the workforce after a couple of years away usually is not a problem, but someone with nothing on their resume for a decade or more might require spousal support to meet their needs.
- Retirement assets — Middle-aged people going through a divorce must concentrate on achieving a fair distribution of retirement assets accumulated during the time they were wed. This might require the issuance of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or expert advice regarding the value of certain assets.
- Ownership of the marital home — The home where a couple lived for years is not just a valuable asset, but also has practical and emotional value. In some cases, both spouses want to remain. Other times, there might be agreement on who should stay, but sharp differences over the distribution of equity and responsibility for remaining mortgage payments.
If you require a complex divorce solution because you’re ending a decades-long marriage or for some other reason, turn to Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., the Long Island divorce leader. We handle each divorce with the skill and care that you deserve. To schedule a consultation please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online for an appointment.